Local Atlanta news

A sign marks the entrance to a gender neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Georgia and 10 other states are suing the Obama administration over its directive to U.S. public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

The lawsuit announced Wednesday accuses the Obama administration of "running roughshod over commonsense policies" that protect children. It also includes Oklahoma, Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, Arizona, Louisiana, Utah and Texas.

Federal authorities say 66 firearms have been stolen from a gun range outside Atlanta.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said in a news release Wednesday that the crime happened during the early morning hours of May 18 at the American Heritage Gun Range and Training Center in McDonough.

The statement noted the theft was the second from the business in the past 30 days.

Maria Saporta / SaportaReport

Communities in Schools Atlanta recently held its annual Choose Success Award Dinner and spotlighted two of its co-founders – Neil Shorthouse and Bill Milliken, and two of its strongest backers – real estate leader George Johnson and philanthropist Anne Cox Chambers.

Atlanta has been an entrepreneurial city for nonprofits and perhaps no organization symbolizes that better than Communities in Schools.

The nonprofit began in Atlanta in the late 1960s to help teenagers stay in school.

A car drives past an Allstate Insurance Co. office Wednesday, April 27, 2011, in Lyndhurst, Ohio.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

State regulators say they're continuing to review a plan by Allstate to raise auto insurance rates for Georgia drivers.

State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has asked an actuarial firm to examine Allstate's rate increase request. Officials said Tuesday that the proposal remains under review.

Last month Hudgens issued a rare "consumer alert" after Allstate Insurance filed its plan to raise rates.

Hudgens has said that he's concerned about the rate increase, and that his office is evaluating whether the planned rate increase is legally excessive.

Neil Hall / Pool Photo via AP

Jimmy Carter is stepping away from his "front-line role" as a member of The Elders, the global human rights group announced Wednesday.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela founded the small group of former global leaders in 2007, and the former U.S. president participated in its first mission later that year in Sudan, focusing on Darfur. The organization said Carter has "played a key role" in every delegation in the Middle East, including trips last spring to Israel and Palestine as well as a meeting with Russian President Vladmir Putin in Moscow.

Luis Hidalgo / associated press file

When rules change governing abortion, either by a legislative act or court ruling, it often makes national headlines.

That didn’t happen when Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams issued her decision on Oct. 30.

Her ruling effectively changed how late women in Georgia could terminate their pregnancy -- from 24 weeks to 20. And the response was crickets.

“All we can tell you is that no one seems to have known about this,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU’s reproductive freedom project.

Suntrust Park is expected to open in time for the 2017 baseball season.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Mike Boyce brought in more votes than Tim Lee in the tight race for chairman of the Cobb County Commission. The race could be heading to a July 26 runoff.

Although many people around the Atlanta area might be surprised by Tuesday night’s results, Boyce said he isn’t.  

“The only one that's not surprised is my team and me, and people who commented on this campaign clearly never knew anything about the mechanics or the process of our effort,” Boyce said.

Michell Eloy / WABE

Former DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond beat out two challengers to win the Democratic primary for county CEO during Tuesday’s primary elections. 

Thurmond defeated former county Commissioner Connie Stokes and business owner Joe Bembry handily, with more than 70 percent of the vote.

Thurmond appeared assured of victory relatively early in the evening, dancing, singing and even cracking some jokes.

'Vote Here' sign near Smitha Middle School in Marietta
Al Such / WABE

State election officials are taking to social media, warning Georgia voters to resist the urge to snap photos, or "selfies," inside voting booths.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp Tuesday morning used the agency's Twitter and Facebook accounts to remind voters that such activity is illegal under state law.

Kemp said no pictures of ballots or voting machines are permitted, and cell phones can't be used inside the voting booths.

In this Aug. 3, 2011, file photo, airline passengers retrieve their scanned belongings while going through the Transportation Security Administration security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, in Atlanta.
Erik S. Lesser, File / Associated Press


Changes are coming to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Starting June 1, the FBI will enforce a federal law that prevents guns at security checkpoints.

This law fell by the wayside about two years ago when Georgia passed the so-called "Guns Everywhere" law that expanded gun rights.

Currently, if permitted gun owners accidentally take firearms to a security checkpoint at the Atlanta airport, they are allowed to return the weapons to their cars or hand them over to someone else without being charged.

As he gave details Monday of his reasons for firing two high-profile department heads, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said his style is to make adjustments when necessary.

Jo Ann Macrina, former commissioner of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management, and Miguel Southwell, former Hartsfield-Jackson general manager, are the two latest department heads to be looking for work elsewhere. It's not the first leadership change for either department during Reed's administration.

Reed insists there's no more turnover than under previous mayors.

Atlanta airport security checkpoint
David Goldman / Associated Press

Atlanta's airport is gradually re-reopening a security checkpoint in the domestic terminal after renovations.

The airport said in a statement that the south checkpoint — one of three in the domestic terminal — would reopen for limited operations Tuesday and Wednesday.

Airport officials said the plan is for normal screening operations to fully resume Thursday.

Georgia primary
David Goldman / Associated Press

The Georgia Secretary of State's Office reports that investigators are looking into a handful of complaints from voters, but no major issues a few hours after polls opened.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. for voters to choose candidates for November's elections.

Georgia election officials are encouraging voters to use social media to relay their voting experience and to report any irregularities or election complaints.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed speaks during a news conference with the C40 and the Compact of Mayors during the Climate Action 2016 Summit at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, Thursday, May 5, 2016.
Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Monday his decision to oust the general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the commissioner of the city watershed department was about “moving forward,” though he was quiet on the specifics that lead him to take those actions.

Late Friday, Reed dismissed Airport General Manager Miguel Southwell and Department of Watershed Commissioner Jo Ann Macrina.

Jim Smith steps out of a voting booth after marking his ballot at a polling site for the New Hampshire primary, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Nashua, N.H.
David Goldman / Associated Press

While nobody named Trump or Clinton appears on the ballot this time around, Georgia voters still have some big decisions to make in primary elections Tuesday.

Nearly three months after Georgia held presidential primaries, voters return to the polls Tuesday to determine whether the state's senior U.S. senator gets a shot at keeping his job another six years. Voters also must decide if five GOP congressmen and one member of the utility-regulating Georgia Public Service Commission deserve to stay in office.

A look at key primary races in Georgia:


georgia voting sticker
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

This story was updated at 7:42 p.m.

The polls have officially closed in Georgia, where voters are deciding the fate of several Republican congressional incumbents.

Democrats are deciding between three people seeking to challenge U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson in his bid for a third term. Isakson faces two longshot primary opponents.

Georgia's 9th and 11th Congressional districts are among the heated contests in Tuesday's elections. Incumbent Republican congressmen Doug Collins and Barry Loudermilk each have four primary challengers.

Atlanta Regional Commission

Atlanta's bicycle riders use the Peachtree Center Cycletrack the most during weekdays, according to data from the Atlanta Regional Commission and Neighborhood Nexus

The Peachtree Center Cycletrack, an 8-foot wide bicycle path, runs along Peachtree Center Avenue from Edgewood Avenue to Peachtree Street. 

Newt Gingrich
Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

De facto Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has confirmed Georgia's Newt Gingrich is on his short list for a vice president running mate.

That short list might be very long, though because Trump said anyone who supports him is on the short list as far as he's concerned.

But is the former House speaker a good pick?  

“I think for anyone other than Donald Trump, he probably wouldn’t be, but Donald Trump is such an unconventional candidate,” said Dr. Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia.

If you ate at an O'Charley's restaurant between March 18 and April 8, you should keep a close eye on your financial accounts.

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens issued a warning saying the restaurant chain may have fallen victim to a data breach.

Olens said both credit and debit cards could be at risk.

O'Charley's has been working alongside Olens' office in this matter and has opened a website for those who have questions.

Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press

The Georgia Ports Authority approved $7.5 million on Monday for the first big steps toward building a new seaport terminal on the Savannah River, to be operated jointly with South Carolina.

Both states have spent years discussing, studying and debating the proposed $4.5 billion Jasper Ocean Terminal, which would occupy 1,500 acres in Jasper County, South Carolina, not far from downtown Savannah. South Carolina is expected to commit its $7.5 million share, and together that money will be spent preparing for the required permits over the next three years.

Campaign signs at the Cagle Family Farm candidate forum in Cherokee County.
Johnny Kauffman / WABE

The smell of cut hay was in the air on a recent warm, sunny afternoon at the Cherokee County candidate forum held at Cagle’s Family Farm in Canton.

Candidates for judgeships, sheriff and congressional seats were speaking and mingling with voters, while Boy Scouts handed out homemade ice cream and a group of young girls played tag on a big, yellow inflatable pad. 

The candidates in the 11th District are close to the people, but that doesn’t mean residents aren’t willing to vote out officeholders if they don’t like what they’re doing.

6 Spring Activities For Budding Georgian Zoologists

May 23, 2016
Noah's Ark is home to the "B.L.T" a bear, lion and tiger trio who were rescued from an Atlantan home.
Courtesy of Noah's Ark

Spring is a great time for kids to get outdoors. Whether your child wants to shake a tail feather with a peacock, waddle with a penguin, catch a fish or try to see an American bald eagle, Georgia has places to see it all.

Noah’s Ark

With more than 1,500 animals, Noah's Ark is more than just a place to view animals. The 250-acre sanctuary rehabilitates hundreds of abused, injured and orphaned animals every year.

The Supreme Court of the United States

This story was updated at 12:29 p.m.

The Supreme Court ruled decisively in favor of a death-row inmate in Georgia on Monday, chastising state prosecutors for improperly keeping African-Americans off the jury that convicted him of killing a white woman.

The justices ruled 7-1 in favor of death row inmate Timothy Tyrone Foster in underscoring the importance of rules they laid out in 1986 to prevent racial discrimination in the selection of juries.

 Stephen Bright, who represents Foster, called the ruling a “definitive victory.”

Miguel Southwell speaks to the media
Alison Guillory / WABE

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is planning a news conference three days after announcing that the general manager of Atlanta's airport — the world's busiest — has been fired.

The mayor intends to discuss "recent personnel changes" during a news conference planned for Monday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Jo Ann Macrina is no longer the commissioner of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management, according to a news statement released Saturday afternoon from the city of Atlanta.

She had been the commissioner since 2011.

Victor Villanueva / flickr.com/bikoy

The "world's busiest airport" is now under new leadership.

A news statement released Friday evening from the city of Atlanta stated that "Miguel Southwell's service as Aviation General Manager at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has ended."

Southwell had been general manager of the airport since May 2014. Roosevelt Council, deputy general manager and chief financial officer of Hartsfield-Jaackson, will be interim general manager. 

Two deputies yell "Stop fighting!" and "He's got my Taser!" as they repeatedly stun a handcuffed man in the back of a vehicle, commanding him to relax even as he insists "I'm dead," shortly before he stops breathing, body-camera videos show.

The videos show the Nov. 20 incident in the back of an SUV in Coweta County, outside Atlanta. Chase Sherman, 32, of Destin, Florida, was pronounced dead at a hospital later that day.

Atlanta traffic
John Bazemore / Associated Press

Georgia will have one of its heaviest construction seasons this summer, according to state transportation officials.

“This summer there will be over 470 construction projects and maintenance projects going on statewide,” said Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry.

In this July 9, 2012, photograph made using a long exposure, traffic moves along Interstate 75 against the downtown skyline in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

The city of Atlanta's population has been growing, but not as quickly as some other cities in the country.

Atlanta added 7,735 people between July 2014 to July 2015 – a growth rate of 1.7 percent, according to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau released this week.

The data showed that Charlotte grew at a rate of about 2.2 percent with 17,695 people, for example, and Seattle grew at a rate of 2.3 percent.

Mary Claire Kelly / WABE


The clock is ticking for people who want to avoid standing in line to vote on Tuesday, May 24.

Friday is the last day to take part in Georgia's early voting period.

Among the races on Tuesday include Democratic and Republican primaries for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Johnny Isakson.

The 71-year-old Isakson is seeking a third term.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp says early turnout has been strong.